Saturday, April 26, 2008

These Columns Write Themselves

Nick in the Standard. It's sad that I have to do this, but you may need some background: Times: Deutsche Bank crackdown on expenses of elite financiers; Crunch spells end of the City expense account (from the ES so probably the story Nick was referring to.

What seems like toughness to Deutsche Bank still looks like extravagance to those outside high finance. The mismatch in perceptions explains why this credit crunch will be different from previous economic crises.

Seriously, why is the 'mismatch in perceptions' different from 'previous economic crises'? It doesn't look any different from previous booms to me. Bankers pay a lot for lunch with clients. Who knew?

We are at the end of an unprecedented boom which has brought immigrants from all over Britain and the world and so transformed London's social geography that our old stereotypical certainties no longer make sense.

People never moved to London in the past. No, not at all.

Comedians and pundits scoff about "Hampstead intellectuals" and "Islington Lefties". Every time I hear them, I mutter, "get real".

Do they? He means buffoons like this.

Islington? Surely its bruschetta-eating middle classes are still in a fury with Blair about the Iraq war

Or this one (emphasis mine).

Sex, preferably gay and maybe incestuous, is a very good thing we are told. I looked across the playhouse and realised the intellectual crisis in London’s theatre I mentioned last week was deeper than I thought. Even the Islington audience seemed bored and embarrassed.

Good news for regular commenter Matthew: Nick identifies what he means by 'middle-class'.

A friend on The Economist worked out that a family setting out in London needed an income of £250,000-plus to count themselves wealthy - not rich, just upper-middle class.

Nick returns to his old socialist self and drops the self-pity for the final para which is less Marx or Keynes than Dr Pangloss.

The boom has shifted Londoners up and down the social hierarchy and turned us into Europe's most cosmopolitan city. If the cash machine breaks down, the gulf between the bankers and the rest will narrow - and London will change again into a poorer but more equal city.

We wish to become more equal and therefore we have economic depressions. (I'm sure this doesn't work.)

It's not as if the novels of Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, and Anthony Powell aren't all about characters, usually in London, shifting up and down the social hierarchy. I don't know how one reckons cosmopolitanism, but London's been near the top since Roman times.

Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

Which reminded me about 'immigrants from all over Britain':

The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road which takes him to England!


Blogger Benjamin said...

By the way, just out of interest, do you know if NC or DA read this blog, and what they think of it?

4/26/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaro links to this blog on his Times weblog. I don't believe he has ever mentioned it directly, though.

There is some evidence that in recycling old columns Nick has incorporated corrections to errors pointed out on here. It might well be someone else pointing them out to him, though.

4/26/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think today's Observer column did write itself.

"Now demand from China's growing number of wealthy workers is pushing up food prices while the thirst of Chinese and Indian industry for oil is pushing up the cost of fuel."

Any economists around?

4/27/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Revolting drivel from Nasty Nick today. He says that the recession means Gordon Brown can't please both the workers and the bosses. But doesn't say which side he should choose - although he does get in some sneering at the Unions

Including, accuses the NUT of "persistent fantasy that tweedy teachers can replace muscle-bound factory workers and become the new vanguard of the proletariat." - So for Nick, all factory workers are "muscle bound" and teachers are "tweedy" and shouldn't go on strike.

On a side note, can we have a "nicks predictions" chart: They are so often wrong (remember he predicted a massive 'Baghdad Bounce' for Blair, who would become incredibly popular because of Iraq !). In htis column he actually simultaneously predicts that the NUT strike would be a fiasco, and admits it wasn't . Lets hope Mystic Nick's track record for getting it wrong will hold up over the London election

4/27/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember that Nick predicted that thousands of people would emerge groaning from Saddam's torture chambers after the invasion of Iraq. Did they?

This is a serious question. If they had, I'm sure that we would have heard about it (and would hear about it constantly) but I don't remember any news item of this sort.


4/28/2008 08:00:00 AM  

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